Top Five Vanderbilt Football Moments of 2012

(Don McPeak-US PRESSWIRE)

With a new year upon us it is time to reflect back on the top five moments of what was a record breaking year for the Commodore football team. There were actually so many stellar moments from the past twelve months that it was hard to limit this list to just five, but ever the intrepid reporting team we did just that. Here, in no particular order, are the five moments chosen.

1) James Franklin's contract extension

This one should be completely obvious. To say Franklin is important to the Commodore program is like saying Ray Lewis was a pretty decent linebacker. Franklin is often praised for his ability to motivate and get the best out of his players, but his ability to game plan and out scheme opponents should not be lost because of his sometimes eccentric sideline behavior. For Vandy to stay relevant and build the program keeping Franklin in Nashville is beyond essential. Thankfully it looks like he has no intention of leaving any time soon.

2) Convincingly winning the Music City Bowl

One of Franklin's greatest strengths is his ability to get the best out of his players when it matters most. In near misses against South Carolina and Florida over the last couple of seasons the Commodores visibly grew in belief and stature. The fact that this group of players has no fear of reputation was obvious in a Music City Bowl victory which saw the defense pick off future NFL first rounder Mike Glennon three times. As of this writing, Vandy have been by far the most impressive SEC team in a bowl game this year (Jadeveon Clowney's monster hit excluded).

3) Dominating Tennessee

Oh, how sweet this was. Vanderbilt put an old fashioned stomping on Tennessee for the Commodores first win over the Vols in Nashville for 30 years. The 41-18 final will look awesome in the history books, but those of us who watched the game will know that Jordan Rodgers and company could have hit 60 if the foot hadn't been taken off the pedal for almost the entirety of the fourth quarter. Whether this was a flash in the pan victory or a sign that the balance of power is shifting within the state is yet to be seen, but for this year at least Vanderbilt was clearly the dominant football power in the state of Tennessee.

4) Recruiting with the big dogs

On Scout.com right now the 'Dores have the 16th best recruiting class in the country. Some of the schools ranked lower than Vandy include South Carolina, Florida State, and Oregon. For a small, private, oft ridiculed institution to be ahead of those traditional powers is quite amazing.

5) Holding the longest winning streak in the SEC heading into 2013

No matter what happens in the remaining bowls Vanderbilt will be the hottest team in the SEC entering 2013. The win over North Carolina State means that Vandy has won seven in a row for the first time since 1948. That is something all Commodore fans should be immensely proud of.

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